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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities: Submitted for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Review; Comment Request

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Minerals Management Service (MMS), Interior.

ACTION:

Notice of extension of an information collection (1010-0048).

SUMMARY:

To comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), we are notifying the public that we have submitted to OMB an information collection request (ICR) to renew approval of the paperwork requirements in the regulations under “30 CFR Part 251, Geological and Geophysical (G&G) Explorations of the OCS,” and related documents. This notice also provides the public a second opportunity to comment on the paperwork burden of these regulatory requirements.

DATES:

Submit written comments by July 28, 2006.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments on this information collection directly to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior via OMB e-mail: Start Printed Page 36824(OIRA_DOCKET@omb.eop.gov); or by fax (202) 395-6566; identify with (1010-0048).

Submit a copy of your comments to the Department of the Interior, MMS, via:

  • MMS's Public Connect on-line commenting system, https://ocsconnect.mms.gov. Follow the instructions on the website for submitting comments.
  • Email MMS at rules.comments@mms.gov. Use Information Collection Number 1010-0048 in the subject line.
  • Fax: 703-787-1093. Identify with Information Collection Number 1010-0048.
  • Mail or hand-carry comments to the Department of the Interior; Minerals Management Service; Attention: Rules Processing Team (RPT); 381 Elden Street, MS-4024; Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817. Please reference “Information Collection 1010-0048” in your comments.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Cheryl Blundon, Rules Processing Team, (703) 787-1600. You may also contact Cheryl Blundon to obtain a copy, at no cost, of the regulations and forms that require the subject collection of information.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: 30 CFR Part 251, Geological and Geophysical (G&G) Explorations of the OCS.

Forms: MMS-327, MMS-328, and MMS-329.

OMB Control Number: 1010-0048.

Abstract: The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Lands Act, as amended (43 U.S.C. 1331 et seq. and 43 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), authorizes the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to prescribe rules and regulations to administer leasing of the OCS. Such rules and regulations will apply to all operations conducted under a lease. Operations on the OCS must preserve, protect, and develop oil and natural gas resources in a manner that is consistent with the need to make such resources available to meet the Nation's energy needs as rapidly as possible; to balance orderly energy resource development with protection of human, marine, and coastal environments; to ensure the public a fair and equitable return on the resources of the OCS; and to preserve and maintain free enterprise competition.

The OCS Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1340) also states that “any person authorized by the Secretary may conduct geological and geophysical explorations in the [O]uter Continental Shelf, which do not interfere with or endanger actual operations under any lease maintained or granted pursuant to this OCS Lands Act, and which are not unduly harmful to aquatic life in such area.” The section further requires that permits to conduct such activities may only be issued if it is determined that the applicant is qualified; the activities are not polluting, hazardous, or unsafe; they do not interfere with other users of the area; and do not disturb a site, structure, or object of historical or archaeological significance. Applicants for permits are required to submit form MMS-327 to provide the information necessary to evaluate their qualifications. Upon approval, respondents are issued a permit on either form MMS-328 or MMS-329 depending on whether the permit is for geophysical exploration or for geological exploration.

Regulations at 30 CFR part 251 implement these statutory requirements. We use the information to ensure there is no environmental degradation, personal harm or unsafe operations and conditions, damage to historical or archaeological sites, or interference with other uses; to analyze and evaluate preliminary or planned drilling activities; to monitor progress and activities in the OCS; to acquire G&G data and information collected under a Federal permit offshore; and to determine eligibility for reimbursement from the Government for certain costs. The information is necessary to determine if the applicants for permits or filers of notices meet the qualifications specified by the OCS Lands Act. The MMS uses information collected to understand the G&G characteristics of oil- and gas-bearing physiographic regions of the OCS. It aids the Secretary in obtaining a proper balance among the potentials for environmental damage, the discovery of oil and gas, and adverse impacts on affected coastal States. Information from permittees is necessary to determine the propriety and amount of reimbursement.

We will protect information from respondents considered proprietary under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) and its implementing regulations (43 CFR part 2) and under regulations at 30 CFR parts 250, 251, and 252. No items of a sensitive nature are collected. Responses are mandatory or required to obtain or retain a benefit.

Frequency: On occasion; and as required in the permit.

Estimated Number and Description of Respondents: Approximately 130 OCS Federal oil, gas, and sulphur permittees and notice filers.

Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping “Hour” Burden: The estimated annual “hour” burden for this information collection is a total of 1,586 hours. The following chart details the individual components and estimated hour burdens. In calculating the burdens, we assumed that respondents perform certain requirements in the normal course of their activities. We consider these to be usual and customary and took that into account in estimating the burden.

Citation 30 CFR 251Reporting and recordkeeping requirementHour burdenAverage No. annual responsesAnnual burden hours
251.4(a), (b); 251.5(a), (b), (d); 251.6; 251.7Apply for permits (form MMS-327) to conduct G&G exploration, including deep stratigraphic tests/revisions when necessary6110 Applications660
251.4(b); 251.5(c), (d); 251.6File notices to conduct scientific research activities, including notice to MMS prior to beginning and after concluding activities64 Notices24
251.6(b); 251.7(b)(5)Notify MMS if specific actions should occur; report archaeological resources. (No instances reported since 1982.)11 Notice1
251.7Submit information on test drilling activities under a permit, including form MMS-123(1) Burden included under 1010-01410
251.7(c)Enter into agreement for group participation in test drilling, including publishing summary statement; provide MMS copy of notice/list of participants. (No agreements submitted since 1989.)11 Agreement1
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251.7(d)Submit bond(s) on deep stratigraphic test(1) Burden included under 30 CFR part 256 (1010-0006)0
251.8(a)Request reimbursement for certain costs associated with MMS inspections. (No requests in many years. OCS Lands Act requires Government reimbursement.)11 Request1
251.8(b), (c)Submit modifications to, and status/final reports on, activities conducted under a permit255 Responses × 4 Reports = 220440
251.9(c)Notify MMS to relinquish a permit1/28 Notices4
251.10(c)File appeals(1) Not subject to the PRA0
251.11; 251.12Notify MMS and submit G&G data/information collected under a permit and/or processed by permittees or 3rd parties, including reports, logs or charts, results, analyses, descriptions, etc450 Submissions200
251.13Request reimbursement for certain costs associated with reproducing data/information250 Submissions100
251.14(a)Submit comments on MMS intent to disclose data/info. to the public11 Comment1
251.14(c)(2)Submit comments on MMS intent to disclose data/info. to an independent contractor/agent11 Comment1
251.14(c)(4)Contractor/agent submits written commitment not to sell, trade, license, or disclose data/info. without MMS consent11 Commitment1
251.1-251.14General departure and alternative compliance requests not specifically covered elsewhere in part 251 regulations21 Request2
Permit Form (Form MMS-327)Request extension of permit time period150 Extensions50
Permit Form (Form MMS-327)Retain G&G data/information for 10 years and make available to MMS upon request1100 Recordkeepers100
Total Hour Burden599 Responses1,586

Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping “Non-Hour Cost” Burden: We have identified no paperwork “non-hour cost” burdens associated with the collection of information.

Public Disclosure Statement: The PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.) provides that an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. Until OMB approves a collection of information, you are not obligated to respond.

Comments: Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.) requires each agency “ * * * to provide notice * * * and otherwise consult with members of the public and affected agencies concerning each proposed collection of information * * *” Agencies must specifically solicit comments to: (a) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the agency to perform its duties, including whether the information is useful; (b) evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

To comply with the public consultation process, on November 28, 2005, we published a Federal Register notice (70 FR 71329) announcing that we would submit this ICR to OMB for approval. The notice provided the required 60-day comment period. In addition, § 250.199 provides the OMB control number for the information collection requirements imposed by the 30 CFR 251 regulations and forms. The regulation also informs the public that they may comment at any time on the collections of information and provides the address to which they should send comments. We have received no comments in response to these efforts.

If you wish to comment in response to this notice, you may send your comments to the offices listed under the ADDRESSES section of this notice. OMB has up to 60 days to approve or disapprove the information collection but may respond after 30 days. Therefore, to ensure maximum consideration, OMB should receive public comments by July 28, 2006.

Public Comment Procedures: MMS's practice is to make comments, including names and addresses of respondents, available for public review. If you wish your name and/or address to be withheld, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. MMS will honor the request to the extent allowable by the law; however, anonymous comments will not be considered. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public inspection in their entirety.

MMS Information Collection Clearance Officer: Arlene Bajusz (202) 208-7744.

Editorial Note:

This document was received at the Office of the Federal Register on June 23, 2006.

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Dated: February 7, 2006.

E.P. Danenberger,

Chief, Office of Offshore Regulatory Programs.

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[FR Doc. E6-10192 Filed 6-27-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-MR-P